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October 17, 2003 - Image 20

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2003-10-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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from page 19

share the concern of the U.S. govern-
ment to minimize the risk that grant
funds might be diverted for terrorist
purposes. We comply fully with all legal
requirements established by U.S. law
and regulation."
The statement added, "We have no
reason to believe that Ford Foundation
grant funds have been used to benefit
terrorist organizations."
A consortium of worried benefactors
formed an evolving committee, made up
mainly of Ford Foundation officials and
Norwegian and Swiss donors, according
to a source with the International
Commission of Jurists in Sweden, one of
the concerned donors.
A copy of the 60-page investigation of
LAW (Palestinian Committee for the
Protection of Human Rights and the
Environment) by the auditing firm Ernst
& Young, obtained from overseas
sources, catalogues a stunning list of

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financial improprieties.
Nearly 40 percent of the $9.6 million
donated was either ineligible, unsupport-
ed, misappropriated or never spent on
programs, according to the investigative
report. And more than $2.3 million was
"retained," turning LAW into a sort of
bank under the nominal control of its
then-executive director, Khader Shkirat,
and other senior officials.
Asked about media reports that LAW
funds were embezzled, an American
employee of Ernst & Young familiar
with the audit replied, "It depends what
dictionary you use. They were certainly
misappropriated."
Moreover, $490,000 from LAW
became part of a series of transactions
among other LAW board members and
used to acquire a 56 percent ownership
in Arab Phone Inc., according to the
audit.
An Ernst & Young source familiar

`Fragile Existence'

Israeli consul general stresses need for good

PR in the United States.

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oshe Ram is a rarity. He
is both an optimist and a
realist when it comes to
the Middle East.
Ram, the Chicago-based Israeli consul
general for the Midwest, suggested that
absent a negotiating partner, Israel must
take unilateral actions — such as
the accelerated building of a secu-
rity fence and the withdrawal
from territory — as a way to
advance Israel's security, political
and economic interests.
Recalling the recent 30th
anniversary of the Yom Kippur
War, he told 150 Shabbat and
Sukkot congregants at the
Ram
Birmingham Temple in
Farmington Hills on Oct. 10
that Israel "came out victorious, but it
was almost a great military defeat. We
must remember how fragile is our exis-
tence in this part of the world. We must
not make the same mistakes."
Referring to the "Palestinian war
against the Jews and against Israel" that
started in 2000 following the failure of
the Camp David summit, he called sui-
cide bombings "a strategic weapon as well
as a tactical one, and a kind of weapon of

mass destruction."
"In Haifa last week, three families were
wiped out from the face of the Earth ...
900 Israelis have been murdered, and
more than 5,000 have been injured,
many seriously. We need to remember it,
and you need to remember it," he said.
'After the past three years, we need to
decide what is good for Israel," Ram
insisted. "If a fence is good for Israel,
then go and build it immediately.
If it is bad, then dismantle it.
Eventually, we will find a way
to live, if not together, than each
in their own territory. If it is good
for the Palestinians, it is fine, but
my main moral concern is for my
own country and for my own
people."
Ram urged the audience not to
underestimate their success in
shaping American public opinion
in favor of Israel.
"The special relationship with the
United States didn't come out of
nowhere," he said. "A very, very strong
Jewish community in the United States
that stands day and night for the State of
Israel is the basis of the special relation-
ship."
Though half the audience raised their
hands to show agreement that Israel's
public relations is "terrible," Ram cited

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